One monring you awake and immediately feel strange. You get out of bed and realize that you are inside a posh hotel room you’ve never seen before. There is an attractive red-headed stranger sleeping in the bed alongside you. You frantically get up and rush into the bathroom. Much to your amazement, the image looking back at you is Bruce Springteen. You start talking to yourself, and you have Bruce Springsteen’s voice. You notice an acoustic guitar, and pick it up, but you have the same level of musical ability as you did before inhabiting Bruce’s body. In other words, you have Bruce Springsteen’s physical body and vocal cords, but you have your own mind and skills, with all of your memories and experiences unchanged. Your knowledge of Springsteen’s lyrics and the details of his personal life are the same as they always were. You are Inside Springsteen, but you are yourself. You see a copy of the LA Times on the ground: the cover story of the entertainment section shows that you/Bruce is scheduled to perform with the E Street Band that night at the Staples Center. What do you do?
Sounds like fun, right?
We get a pretty good amount of detail with this one, so I’ll tackle the hypothetical head-on. I somehow fake a concussion, probably by “slipping in the shower” so that Patti (Scialfa, the redhead) will believe it. In the same “fall” I seriously injure my left wrist, rendering me unable to play guitar. I tell her to tell the band I might be a little out of sorts, and ask her to have a manager prepare a setlist consisting of songs that I generally know the words to, including:
- Racing In The Street
- The Ghost of Tom Joad
- Reason to Believe
- Chimes of Freedom
- Independence Day
- I’m On Fire
- Tougher Than The Rest
- My Hometown
- Bobby Jean
- 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
- Born To Run (Encore)
- The River (Encore)
- This Land Is Your Land (Second Encore)
- We Shall Overcome (Second Encore)
I call a limo to take me to the nearest hospital, where I bribe the doctor to put a cast on my arm. Next I cruise over to UCLA or USC or whatever the nearest top-flight university happens to be. I walk into the academic dean’s office and ask to see his two best neuroscientists, two best psychologists, and two best philosophers, all at once. If necessary, I suggest that I would be willing to endow some amount of money in exchange for their expertise with a pressing personal problem.
Upon the arrival of the academicians, I tell them they must prepare themselves for something that is not to be believed–for it is unbelievable–but ask that they will be willing for it to be proved. I explain everything that has happened in the last several hours. I expect that I will be able to prove I am not Bruce Springsteen by being subjected to questioning about specific instances in my past which I (Hayden) will not know–for example, I won’t know off the top of my head what key a given song is in, or even where Bruce was born, his parents’ names, etc. I will also show that I know a lot about the person known as Hayden Higgins (things that the real Bruce Springsteen would not know). I might suggest contacting “me” (Hayden Higgins) — it is possible Bruce’s mind will be inhabiting my body. However, I would not do this myself, as it seems possible this could go catastrophically wrong. Hopefully these evidences would convince the professors.
I would leave the matter in their hands–but only after playing that night’s show.
What would you do?